Popular class no longer offered

Advocates of PeaceAdvocates of Peace, a humanities course taught by Professor Stephen Morrow since 2004, will not be offered next semester to OCCC students.

Kina Bazrbashi, political science major and student in the fall 2015 class of Advocates of Peace said Morrow told the class he had learned of the cancellation when they met on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

“He was shaken up,” said Sarah Wighan, business finance major who also is enrolled in the Advocates of Peace class.

Morrow said he is respectful of the decision.

“Administrators have to make tough decisions and look at things globally,” he said. “I understand that and respect that. I really believe our administrators always have the best for our students at heart.”

Morrow said he believes positive things will come out of the announcement. He said he looks forward to bringing the Advocates of Peace message to a larger audience, including possibly speaking to administrators and the curriculum committee about the course sometime in the future.

Morrow said the class is centered on teaching students non-violent communication skills.

Aaron Cardenas, broadcast major and current Advocates of Peace student, said such skills are critical for life and the workforce in general. Cardenas said he grew up in a gang neighborhood and used to be a person who dealt with a lot of anger.

Through the non-violent communication workshops in the class, Cardenas said he is learning to handle situations in a calmer manner.

The students are currently studying the speeches and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cardenas, Wighan and history major, Josie Sneed said the Advocates of Peace class is the only class at OCCC where they have read the works of the famous civil rights leader. This is the section of the course that looks at historical uses of non-violent communication. Morrow said this section involves looking at the mechanisms that make for social progress.

Only six of the 28 humanities courses this semester have a lower availability than Advocates of Peace, which has only one seat out of 30 available.

Cardenas said the class feels like a family, and that they talk about their emotions with each other in a uniquely safe atmosphere.

Wighan agrees.

“[This class] makes you feel like you could conquer the world,” she said.

Morrow said the students’ feelings are important to him.

“I appreciate my students who feel this is important and are willing to say something about it,” he said.

Morrow said he will find a new way to help students hone their relationship skills and accomplish their goals.

English and Humanities Dean Kim Jameson declined requests to interview and offer her administrative perspective, instead referring all questions to Morrow.

For more information about the class, contact Morrow at smorrow@occc.edu or 405-682-1611, ext. 7350.


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